This is the story of two orphans, their parents died of HIV 7 years ago. Let’s call them ‘Kris’ (8 years old) and his big sister ‘Wayan’ (9 years old). We met them 7 years ago through our work with Bali Peduli Buddies programme.
I had an address for the children. After quite a long time, I found a house, semi-finished, some rooms without doors and windows. There I met Kris’s grandma and grandpa. Grandpa talked about the state of his grandson, his voice breaking, he paused only occasionally, wiping his eyes. I saw a toddler asleep on a thin mattress with only pieces of cloth for warmth. Kris was then 18 months old. His physical condition was really alarming, the tips of his lips white, sores on his face, he could only lay on the bed. I could not bear to look for too long.
With funds from Bali Peduli and a letter from the village head confirming that the family was poor, I took Kris and Wayan for VCT to Sanglah Hospital in Denpasar. Wayan was non reactive for HIV while Kris was reactive. After many months grandma came with Kris to Sanglah Hospital to get ARV. It was difficult at that time to start him on ARV as there had been few cases of children with HIV and there was a wait for some of the laboratory tests.
Wayan, then 2 ½ years old, was very sensitive, closely watching her little brother having lab tests, always crying. She didn’t want to leave him in the doctor’s rooms or at the lab. Grandma was silent and crying. I would invite Wayan out of the room, giving chocolates and sweets. At that time, Kris had a CD4 of only 24, as well as infections. He needed to be in hospital.
We helped Kris get children’s ARV after one month. We were really relieved to see the changes in his health in the first 6 months of taking ARVs. His face was cheerful and he could play with his sister. After 1 year Kris could walk and play like children of his age. Now he has started elementary school.
Help more people like Kris and Wayan.